Earlier today we projected the 40-man roster and payroll. Now let’s take a look at the 25-man roster and lineup.

25-Man Roster Projection and Lineup
(notes and explanations on the projection can be found following the roster)…


Notes on the 25-man roster projection

  • Projection is based only on players currently in the organization. The projection will be updated when players are acquired via free agency or trades.
  • Lineup: The only remaining question mark is right field. The recent report that the Rays are interested in Gabe Kapler suggests that they are leaning towards a platoon with Gabe Gross to start the season. That leaves Matt Joyce in the minor leagues.
  • Bench: Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist figure to see plenty of playing time at various positions and both could be part of the right field rotation. Shawn Riggans seems safe, as he looked solid with the bat. But he needs to show marked improvement behind the plate. Base stealers were 24-25 against Diesel, and the one caught stealing was on a pitch out. The final spot is wide open but figures to be a player that can bat right-handed and play right field. Gabe Kapler, Rocco Baldelli, Fernando Perez and Justin Ruggiano all fit the bill.
  • Rotation: The only question remaining is whether David Price is deemed ready in spring training. We have already made a case for King David starting the year in triple-A. If he does, the last spot will go to Jason Hammel, Mitch Talbot or Jeff Niemann, with Niemann having the edge.
  • Bullpen: Six spots now appear spoken for if and when Troy Percival is healthy. That leaves one spot for a long reliever. Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel are out of minor league options, and one figures to be the long reliever. The other could start the season in the rotation or be traded. If David Price is in the rotation and Percival is on the DL, both could be used in the bullpen to start the season to give the rotation extra rest in the first month or two of the regular season. At this point, the Rays’ lefty-specialist appears to be right-hander Joe Nelson. Only the Rays.
  • As a Rule 5 draft pick, Derek Rodriguez must be on the major league roster or be offered back to his original team. We don’t see a spot for Rodriguez, but we think the Rays will work out a deal to keep Rodriguez in the organization. It would likely cost the Rays a low-level minor leaguer or cash.
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18 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Hey Prof, what about the Rule 5 draft guys? Are you envisioning that they'll get waived and offered back to the teams they were selected from?

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  2. The Professor says:

    thanks for bringing that up. i should have made a note. i think ultimately that the Rays will work out a deal to keep Rodriguez in the organization even if he doesn't make the roster. it might cost the Rays a low-level prospect or some cash.

    as for Morlan, i don't have a feel on that one.

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  3. Rays Party Chairman says:

    They would be willing to take Morlan back only if the Brewers dump him off.
    Wouldn't Crawford be a better leadoff hitter over Upton? Neither can bunt but I feel safe Crawford legging it out to get on.

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  4. The Professor says:

    Crawford says he hates leading off and doesnt want to do it. of course, it is not his decision, but i think he is a last resort. and Upton, with his speed and ability to draw walks is attractive. but Maddon prefers his power bat in an RBI slot

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  5. Anonymous says:

    "Sean Riggans seems safe, as he looked solid with the bat. But he needs to show marked"

    It's Shawn. Just pointing out a typo as you have it correct earlier in the post.

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  6. The Professor says:

    i am sooo firing my editor.

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  7. Joe D. says:

    It's about time for Salas to step up, he's shown flashes before. I seem to remember at one time he was thought to be our closer of the future... before all of the suspensions for banned substance's. But still, maybe he has a spot if he has a decent spring (assuming he doesn't have visa troubles again)and Percy isn't ready to go...

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  8. The Professor says:

    i could definitely see that

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  9. Robert Rittner says:

    I think once again Friedman is loading up on bullpen options hoping Maddon can sort it out during the spring. For example, Choate might sneak in as the replacement for Miller's loogy role. That would require some other moves to make room of course.

    As for Crawford, unless he can pick up his OBP, which at this point seems unlikely, he is a terrible leadoff man. Even if Iwamura is not an elite leadoff man, his career OBP is 23 points higher than Crawford's and only 2 points lower than Carl's best season.

    No doubt Crawford's ability to get into scoring position is a plus, but so long as his OBP hovers around .330 he is inadequate for that role.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Prof,

    What is your take on why some people seem so confident Joyce will start the season in Durham. Im not saying I would be against it, but what do you think is the reasoning? Could it be just the fact he has struggled against left handers or could it be that his last month (September) was his worst?

    His month by month breakdown is pretty interesting

    May: 59 AB .208/.271/.509 5 HR 5 BB 11 K
    July: 78 AB .321/.384/.654 5 HR 8 BB 20 K
    August: 61 AB .262/.351/.392 2 HR 5 BB 14 K
    September: 49 AB .163/.339/.204 0 HR 13 BB 20K

    Wow, he was all over the place last year. From low BA and lots of power, to amazing month, to mediocre month with little power, and finally a horrible month that he actually had his highest walk total. The other concern I guess is that all of his power came in his first two months and only 2 HR in his last two.

    Overall his line between the Tigers and AAA was 442 AB .260/.345/.520 with 25 HR, 5 3B, 29 2B, 74 RBI, 55 BB, 127 K, 2 SB

    I still think Id really like to see him at least get a chance to earn a job this spring.

    - bossmanjunior333

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  11. The Professor says:

    that lack of consistency may be the biggest reason. i am just guessing, but maybe the Rays would want him to find a little better comfort zone.

    one thing brought up by somebody else yesterday is that with Burrell, Joyce would fall to the 7th spot in the lineup. it might be a little easier on him and the team to hide him there and let him work out the kinks at the big league level. it would have been a little more difficult batting #6 behind Longoria. just something else to consider.

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  12. stunna says:

    I would like to see Aybar being the most days RF until Joyce takes over

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  13. FloridaMarine says:

    Stunna,

    I'm on board with that. I felt much more comfortable with Willy at the plate, than I did with Gross. As much as I love Gross and his cannon arm, I think I'd rather see more Aybar in RF.

    Prof,

    Regarding Crawford and his legs beggin’ for a trade, who would you like to see to replace his speed and field coverage? Not just a ‘wish list’ pick, but a realistic replacement for the Rays in LF?

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  14. The Professor says:

    the logical choice in left would be Perez. Similar player. No dropoff in D. Hopefully dropoff at the plate is not too great. And you save $8mm. I could also see either Joyce or Gross moving to left with the other staying in right. And both Zobrist and Aybar could see time in left. But neither is a permanent fix

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I can't believe the Rays are going to keep all of the pitching they have. I do believe they will bring Percy back for another year, which I think is a waste of an insurance claim on his salary, but oh well, he's a respected veteran and that's just part of the game. I'd love to see Wheeler go, as he takes up a couple million in a crowded bullpen and has a penchant for choking in big situations (IMO). I also don't know how you can start Price in Durham in 2009. There's no room for Neiman and Hammel. Who is going to go? What can we get in return for them in a trade? I'd hate to see anyone get claimed off waivers for nothing.

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  16. Joe D. says:

    Not too bad of a problem to have is it? Too much pitching and it didn't cost the Rays half a billion dollars like it did the Yankees.

    I think the reason you do see Price in Durham is because of guys like Hammel and Niemann, I'd imagine that one of them's going to be in the Rotation with the other working out of the 'pen. Hopefully you see one or both of them prove their worth and then you'll see, they can be traded for their true value.

    This is barring injury too. Knock on wood, but what if something like last year happens again, where Kaz misses the first month or Garza goes on the DL for 15 days with nerve irritation, or you lose two guys at once, then that depth doesn't seem quite so deep...

    lets be happy that we have that depth heading in to spring and see where we come out in April, a lot of times it's a lot different then what we think in Jan, Feb and even Mar

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  17. Josh says:

    Carl Crawford trade? Yeah right that would be the biggest mistake they could make......50-60 SB this year guarantee it maybe 15HR's or more 100runs for sure

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    • If those were re only factors then sure.

      But we already know the Rays will probably have to lower payroll next season and Crawford is set to make $10 million. So do the Rays want CC in left or Fernando Perez who can provide 80-90% of Crawford at a salary of $400k? In a perfect world I want Crawford, but I don't think it is realistic now.

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